Why the BMW M2 could be the best car of 2016

Test drive: fun is the name of the game with this mini motor.

Damien Reid December 11, 2016

There was a time when BMW made outstanding, little performance cars. The ground-breaking 2002 from the early 1970s set the scene for BMW’s performance car future and with the replacement 3-Series in the late '70s, eventually spawned the M3 in 1987.

However with the necessary evils of passive safety items such as airbags and structural reinforcements that pushed both the weight and prices up, luxury items were added to justify the price and the car only got bigger and heavier. Ultimately the M3 became barely recognisable from the original, now with V8 power and much larger. 

So a gap opened for BMW to revisit the bottom end and get back to doing what it does best and thankfully the essence of that 2002 is back in the form of the new M2. So far, it’s possibly the most fun I’ve had driving this year and in my eyes, is an easy ‘yes’ to choose over the current M3 and M4 options.

Its three-litre, turbocharged, six-cylinder engine is borrowed from the M235i but has been tweaked with pistons and camshafts taken from the M3 to give it 370bhp and 465Nm of torque. It runs through a seven speed, dual clutch transmission and gives it a 0-100kmh time of 4.3 seconds. 

With a wheel on each corner it’s the most go-kart-like BMW I’ve driven since the original E30 M3 of 1987 but with tons more power than that iconic original ever offered.

The M2’s grip levels are phenomenal which is also partly due to the bespoke Michelin tyres made for this model as well as its wider track compared to the regular 2-Series. It’s easily noticeable by the flared wheel arches that house the big 19-inch alloys on their wider stance and hiding giant-slaying 380mm disc brakes. 

Other external identifiers include body side moldings which incorporate a bold under bumper treatment at the front as well as quad tail pipes that’s an M trademark at the rear as well as subtle side gills and M-badging but otherwise it’s a bit of a sleeper to look at both outside and inside. 

The interior is straight 2-Series – or pretty much any current BMW for that matter – save for a matt finish carbon fibre treatment for the dash and console. The new M2 is definitely more go than show which is perfect, just how the original was, by leading with engineering.

Specs

  • Engine: 3.0-litre, turbocharged, inline six-cylinder
  • Power: 370bhp @ 6,500rpm
  • Torque: 465Nm @ 1,450rpm
  • Transmission: seven-speed automatic
  • 0-100kmh: 4.3 seconds
  • Top speed: 250kmh (governed)
  • Price: AED 275,000

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